Visakhapatnam: The Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is ready to compete with private players coming up on the Eastern shore having completed its time-bound expansion projects, implementing ease of doing business guidelines effectively and also utilising the latest technology on par with international ports.

VPT chairman K. Rama Mohan Rao said that despite the disturbances caused by Covid-19, the port could handle 32.77 million tonne cargo in the first half of the current financial year compared to 34.75 million tonne handled previous year. The decline in traffic volume was estimated to be 1.98 million tonne.

“The percentage of decline with respect to VPT is less than the shortfall registered by all major ports put together,” the chairman said.

The port handled 72.72 million tonne during 2019-2020 as against 65.30 million tonne handled in 2018-2019 registering 11 per cent growth.

The chairman said there was significant growth in export of iron ore and finished steel due to demand in China, South Korea and Japan. Export of fertilisers and agriculture products also increased from the port, he said.

Listing out the ongoing development projects that would enable the port to compete with the private ports, the chairman said the present container terminal capacity has been increased from 5.4 lakh TEUs to 10 lakh TEUs at a cost of Rs 633 crore. The project would be completed by March next year.

Similarly, additional oil handling facilities are being created at a cost of Rs 168 crore which would be completed by March 2022. Mechanisation of berths is also in the process, the chairman said.

He said a cruise terminal is also being constructed for which ministry of tourism and shipping would contribute funds. Environment Impact Assessment has been completed and the tenders would be called for the same after getting approval from the Ministry of Forests, Environment and Climate Change.

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